Seekers and lovers of wisdom



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Ancient Greek Philosophers
Greek philosophers were "seekers and lovers of wisdom". They studied and analyzed the world around them using logic and reason. Although we often think of philosophy as religion or "the meaning of life", the Greek philosophers were also scientists. Many studied mathematics and physics as well. Often the philosophers were teachers of wealthy children. Some of the more famous ones opened their own schools or academies. 

Major Greek Philosophers 
Socrates  469-399 BCE

Socrates was the first major Greek philosopher. He came up with the Socratic Method. This was a way of studying issues and problems through a question and answer technique. He believed we already knew the answers to questions, we had only to discover them. Socrates introduced political philosophy and got the Greeks to start thinking hard about morals, good and evil, and how their society should work. Socrates didn't write a lot down, but we know what he thought from the recordings of his student, Plato. Socrates wasn’t loved by everyone by any means.  His unorthodox political and religious views gave the leading citizens of Athens the excuse they needed to sentence him to death for corrupting the morals of the youth of the city 

Plato  427-347 BCE



Plato wrote much of his philosophy in conversations called dialogues. The dialogues feature Socrates as one of the speakers. Plato's most famous work is called the Republic. In this work Socrates discusses the meaning of justice and how cities and governments should be ruled. He describes his ideal society in the conversations. This work is still studied today and has had an impact on both philosophy and political theory throughout history. 

Plato believed that no one should be rich or live in luxury. He also believed that each person should do the job that they are best suited for. He thought a philosopher-king should rule society. He founded his own school called the Academy where he taught students, such as Aristotle. The school lasted for 900 years.
"...If you ask what is the good of education in general, the answer is easy; that education makes good men, and that good men act nobly."

Aristotle  384-322 BCE

Aristotle was a student of Plato, but didn't necessarily agree with all that Plato said. Aristotle liked to focus on more practical areas of philosophy including science. He pretty much invented modern logic. He founded his own school called the Lyceum. He thought that reason was the highest good and that it was important to have self control. Aristotle was a tutor for Alexander the Great. 

Questions:

  1. What were philosophers?

  2. In addition to finding the “meaning of life”, Greek philosophers were also what?

  3. What subjects would philosophers study?

  4. Who was the first major philosopher?

  5. When did he live?

  6. What Method did he come up with?

  7. What is the Socratic Method?

  8. How much did Socrates write down?

  9. If he didn’t write much, how do we know about him?

  10. What happened to Socrates?

  11. What is another word for conversations?

  12. What is Plato’s most famous work?

  13. Who was one of the speakers for his most famous book?

  14. What book is still studied today?

  15. Did Plato believe that people should be rich?

  16. Who should rule, according to Plato?

  17. Where did Plato teach?

  18. Name one famous student of Plato.

  19. What area did Aristotle focus on?

  20. What was the name of Aristotle’s school?

  21. What is the highest good for Aristotle?

  22. What was also important to have?

  23. Who did Aristotle tutor?


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